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When to cruise Alaska


Staff member
When should I cruise Alaska? This question is asked many times on the different cruise boards. This is also a hard question to answer because Alaska changes a lot during the cruise season. When to go depends on what you want to do and see.

May is the driest month for cruising in Alaska. On the plus side if you want to see a lot of waterfalls this is a perfect time to cruise. With the snow melt there will be waterfalls everywhere. The weather will be a little cooler but will still get into the 60's and 70's on many days. Whales will be arriving in Alaska so you will get to see whales. There will be wild life coming out from the winter but not in great numbers and will be harder to see. Trees and flowers will all start to bloom and bloom quickly during May. Daylight will be around 16 to 18 hours of the day.

June will start out dry but turn to rain midway through the month. Wildlife will become more abundant. The salmon will start to run about the third week of June. The sunlight will be anywhere from 20 hours during the start of June to 24 hours by the third week of June. Temperatures can get into the 80's during June.

July will be the rainiest month to hit Alaska. It is not unusual to only have 3 or 4 days of no rain during July. The wildlife will be fully out. There will also be a lot of fog in various places. The salmon will be running full and there will be a lot of wildlife. You will just be wet watching them. Temperatures will still be in the high 70's.

August the first week or so will be rainy but it will start drying up. The sun will be going down earlier and earlier. By the end of August if the skys are right you may start seeing the Northern Lights. By the end of August leaves will start to change color. Whales will still be here but some will start heading south. Temperatures will be dropping into the 60's and down to the 50's.

September is the end of the cruising season. It will start getting darker and darker. It will also get colder and colder. By the end of the cruise season there is an excellent chance of seeing snow. The fall colors will be in full bloom, unfortunately the fall colors in Alaska are mainly one color and that is yellow. You will see and occasional red but not very often.

I hope this will help you plan when you may want to cruise Alaska.

Pam in CA

It was literally freezing, snowy and slushy when we disembarked in Whittier a week ago. It was a winter wonderland on May 18th. My Anchorage friends said it was unusual but it highlights that the weather can be anywhere from cold to hot. Average temps are just that: average.